Why All Sales Reps Must Read “Made to Stick”

by Chris Arlen on August 2, 2012

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Sales reps sell ideas; not products or services or technologies. But ideas that customers comprehend and covet.

Because sales reps’ ideas are brought to life by their products, services or technologies, so customers have to buy them to realize the Shangri-La of those ideas. But they only buy ideas they understand, and want.

Therefore, to win more and larger sales, get your customer to make your idea theirs.

This is worth repeating: Get customers to make your idea theirs, and you win the sale. Because once the idea is theirs, they’ll work to make it a reality, they’ll sell inside for you.

But not just any idea will work. There are ideas that take hold and stick in the minds of customers. And there are ideas (sales pitches) that never catch on, those are also called lost or abandoned sales.

So, which ideas stick with customers? – that’s why you must read “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die” by Chip and Dan Heath (image and text links to “Made to Stick” are affiliate links).

What makes an idea sticky? – read “Made to Stick” and find out.

Ever wonder why the urban legend “kidney heist” is so well known, and remembered? – again, check out “Made to Stick“.

Sticky Ideas & Selling

Sticky┬áselling ideas communicate complex and new information effectively and efficiently. In “Made to Stick” the authors show how sticky ideas get customers to:

  • Pay attention
  • Understand & remember
  • Believe & agree
  • Care
  • Act (to buy your offer)

That type of customer feeling, thought and behavior is right in the selling sweet spot. That’s everything a rep could want from their communications with customers.

A Workable Template for Sticky Selling Ideas

The authors have developed a template for creating sticky ideas, which works especially well for large, complex sales.

The authors’ acronym for for making ideas stick is SUCCES (that’s right no second “s” at the end), which stands for: Short, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional and Stories.

And selling isn’t telling – but it is storytelling.

While the SUCCES template is not a connect the dots, direct translation to selling, it does give actionable insight to work on sticky selling ideas.

Excellent Read

Many business books are based on research with valuable ideas. However, many are boringly written and put you to sleep faster than a double dose of Ambien on an empty stomach.

Unlike those books, “Made to Stick” is engagingly written, and dare I say it: it’s fun to read and hard to put down.

The authors eat their own cooking and practice what they preach. They use stories to communicate their sticky ideas about ideas and stickiness.

As a result, you’ll quickly and easily start using what you learn to create your sticky selling ideas.

More About Sticky Ideas in Selling

Here are a couple of thoughts connecting selling with “Made to Stick” sticky ideas.

Your sticky selling idea goes under different names, such as value proposition, customized solution, or sales pitch.

Whatever you call it, your idea is the one that helps a customer’s business:

  • Lower total cost of ownership
  • Improve revenue, profitability, market-share
  • Enhance brand image, reputation, customer promise
  • Expand strategic competitive advantage
  • Increase productivity, yield, throughput
  • Reduce direct expenses & waste
  • Ensure regulatory compliance
  • Raise employee morale, tenure, satisfaction

But your idea is more than pure business impacts. As importantly, it helps your contact:

  • Get that next promotion, bonus, raise
  • Enjoy increased job security
  • Gain recognition for winning contributions
  • Do more with less
  • Sleep easy at night
  • Focus on core & strategic work

Sell Sticky Ideas or Lose Out to Those Who Do

So, every rep who doesn’t give their customers Short-Unexpected-Concrete-Credible-Emotional-Stories to make their own – are losing out to those who do. And you know those reps, there the ones who tell great stories, have great customer relationships and are always going to their President Club’s award ceremonies.

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